Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Grrr! (01/28/10)
TITLE: Born to Die
By Lizzy Ainsworth
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"Grrr-rrr-rrr" with a tremendous tug the tiny pup tumbled backwards and shook his head triumphantly.
"Looks like he'll do his job then" Mum said nodding towards the battered sock.
"What if he gets bitten by a snake though?" My little sister, Anna, asked as she protectively scooped him into a girly hug.
"We hope he won't but I'd rather he gets bitten then one of you'se. Do you understand?" Dad asked and we all nodded back solemnly, our pigtails bobbing.
"Let's get him some milk and he can have a sleep in the sun. He must be worn out after that sock."
* * *
The little puppy grew over the course of time. He was our playmate and our guardian. He was dressed in dolls clothes with our teddies, wheeled in the pram when we took walks, our imaginary child when we played house and pushed down slides in the playground until he wearily crawled under the middle of the house where our short arms could not reach.
We trusted him to warn us of danger and he trusted us to care for him.
* * *
"Mum look!" I yelled, watching out the office window as Tigger tackled his first black snake. "Get the shovel!"
As I watched the small dog grabbed the snake behind its venomous head and shook it insanely until the reptile hung limp and useless in his mouth; so that all Mum needed to do was scrape up the snake into a bucket and dispose of it.
Over two summers little Tig killed 16 black snakes, was bitten by a goanna and attacked by a stray cat but his real test was to come one humid April afternoon.
* * *
Asleep in the lush green grass by the back door, Tig suddenly awoke and raced to a shady corridor along the side of our big farmhouse. With a snap and a snarl he intercepted a six foot long brown snake and began his usual precise attack behind the head of the swift reptile, but this time the battle was different. The intruder did not try to simply escape but swung its head back for an attack.
Racing around the side of the house with a shovel Mum was too late to intervene in the precarious battle. With a shake the small dog dropped the dangerous creature and Mum moved towards the warring pair to kill the snake. Tigger, swaying on shaky legs turned towards her with a growl and stood between the snake and his owner. With an evil vengeance the snake swung and the two heads collided in a battle of life and death, preventing Mum from stepping any closer. Finally the little dog dropped to his belly and the wounded snake crawled behind the tree to die.
Scooping Tigger inside, the family tried to hydrate him not realizing the extent of the damage until they removed the collar minutes later to find the repeated fang marks. It was too late. The venom had swept through his small system so quickly that within a few more minutes the dog shuddered and died.
* * *
He just stood between me and the snake . . . he just would not let me near it," Mum said sadly.
"A sacrifice," mused Dad. "Like Jesus. Where is the snake? I'd better take it away."
"Over here." The snake lay on the ground chopped into twenty pieces with a shovel laying nearby.
"What happened to it?"
"It killed my dog. So I turned it into mincemeat."
* * *
I wandered away from where they stood and gazed into the box where Tigger lay lifeless in a cardboard box, surrounded by the shrouds of flowers and leaves my younger sisters had already made. It was a terrible day when you went on a special outing with your Dad and came back to find your playmate dead.
Surely God could raise him from the dead. I pleaded with the heavens but no reply came and the next day we were forced to bury our little friend under the passion fruit vine with a fitting coffin and funeral procession.
For now, the words that Tigger was a sacrifice for Mum, like Jesus was for us was enough to comfort three little girls and their equally saddened parents.
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